Sunday, July 28, 2013

July 28th Newsletter

Hola CSA Campañeros 

The circus continues at Wunsch Farms. Week three of cherry harvest marked the transition to tart cherry harvest. Tart cherries ripen later than brine and dark-sweets so they are alway the last variety we harvest. The "COE" our cherry-shaking machine is hungry for cherries and now feeding day and night.  Caffeine and from-the-garden berry muffins have been fueling our crews as they harvest at all hours of the day.
This is a very rewarding time of harvest. The crew has been working together non-stop and it is always so fun to watch the new kids getting into the groove. Working a cherry harvest is often a first job for high-school kids in the area and an meaningful experience for them.
 With all the chaos of harvest, Barb somehow still keeps up with the garden and the bins should be great this week. There is quite an abundance of beautiful stuff in the garden, so get that beyond-the-bin while you can!
This week's line-up:

  • Cherries
  • Blueberries 
  • French Green Beans
  • Onions
  • Cucumbers
  • Zucchini
  • Red Norland Potatoes
  • Parsley
  • Blueberries (quart) - 5.00
  • Cherries 2.25# - 10.00
  • Cherries 20# - 35.00
  • Apricots (quart) - 5.00
  • Red Potatoes - 3.00
  • Broccoli - 2.00
  • Kale - 2.00
  • Rattail Radishes - 2.00 
The Traverse City Film Festival starts this week and I hope you all get the chance to check out some good films this year. Headed to the free movie at the Open Space? Come say hi to me (Adele) at the vendor booth. Take a wild guess as to what I'll be offering. . .
Anyway, here is a simple recipe from the New York Times:

Classic Parsley Potatoes

  • 2 1/2 pounds small new potatoes, peeled
  • Salt
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons finely minced flat-leaf parsley
  • Freshly ground black pepper
Place the potatoes in a saucepan with salted water to cover. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer and cook about 20 minutes, until the potatoes are tender. Drain them and return to the saucepan.
Add the butter and roll the potatoes in it until it melts. Gently toss the potatoes in the parsley, season with salt and pepper and serve at once.
 Wish us luck as we wrap up cherry harvest. It is so great to come back to Old Mission every summer and be a part of the harvest. The farm has changed a lot since my parents first bought the property, and continues to grow and change to meet the needs of our community. From meeting new health standards to pioneering the CSA, my parents have are always seeking out ways to improve our standards.
There is something special about working in a family business and so rewarding to see all the years of work pay off. We yearn for cherry harvest all year long, but by this point in the season, we begin looking for the last tree... and a good nights sleep too!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

July 21st Newsletter

Fruit Hounds,

Cherry harvest then..
I hope you were all able to stay cool and safe in the blistering heat this week. The temperatures made us nervous this week, because we still have a lot of fruit out there and too much heat can cook the cherries right on the tree. Luckily, it is getting cooler again and the cherries still look (and taste!) fabulous. One of our mottos is "sometimes it is better to be lucky than to be good." A saying that definitely applies to farming!
...and now
Well, I suppose it does not hurt to be good either.... and I cannot give enough credit to our terrific crew this season. We have brought on a lot of new people and thrown them into the cherry harvest "circus," and everyone is rolling with the punches and keeping the enthusiasm high. Our newbies are not the only ones learning. Our more experienced crew members are stepping up, taking on more responsibility and patiently imparting wisdom. We could not pull harvest off without them!
We also had a visit from 7&4 News this week:
To mix things up a bit, this week you'll also get apricots instead of only cherries. Here is the entire list:

  • Cherries
  • Apricots
  • Cucumbers
  • Zucchini
  • Yellow Beans
  • Broccoli
  • Cilantro
  • Honey
Beyond the Bin
  • 2.25 package of cherries - $ 10.00
  • 20# bin of cherries - $ 35.00
  • Zucchini - $2.00
  • Basil - $2.00
  • Raspberries, 1 pint (black or red) - $5.00
  • Parsley - $2.00
The raspberries are beginning to produce and they are so good! The honey jar is from Hilbert's Honeyland. Hilbert's bees pollinate our trees in the springtime! The 2.25 lb package of cherries is our new packaging and we are really excited to introduce it to our markets (including you!). It is a clamshell design and holds about two quarts of fruit. 

Here is a recipe from

Honey Glazed Waxed Beans
Makes 6 servings
active time
15 minutes
total time
25 minutes


  • 1 1/4 pounds wax (yellow) or green beans, trimmed
  • 1 tablespoon mild honey
  • 3/4 teaspoon finely grated fresh lemon zest
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt


Cook beans in a 4-quart pot of boiling salted water until just tender, 6 to 8 minutes. Drain in a colander, then immediately toss with honey, zest, and salt in a large bowl.

Alright CSAers, have a good week and wish us luck as we dive into the second week of Cherry Harvest 2013!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

July 14th Newsletter

Rat-tail radishes!
Greetings Pod People,

This week, we found some nice information about snow peas and radish pods to share. It is the first year we have grown rat-tail radishes and it is always fun to try something new! It's going to be another great bin this week. Here is the list:

  • Emperor Frances Cherries (sweet, red-yellow variety)
  • Ulster cherries (Michigan's favorite dark-sweet cherry)
  • Red Kale
  • Broccoli
  • Sugar Snap & Snow Peas
  • Basil
  • Rat-tail Radishes
  • Mixed Greens

  • Cherries (1 quart) 6.oo
  • Cherries (20# box) 35.00
  • Broccoli Rabe 2.00
  • Zucchini 2.00
  • Maple Syrup 8.00

It's basil time!
Sweet cherry harvest is in full-swing, meaning things are getting pretty action-packed around the farm (maybe you noticed if you had a farm pick-up last week...). Cherry season is such a staple of the Northern Michigan lifestyle and I am sure that for anyone who grew-up in the area, July evokes many memories. As you have experienced, the cherries are great this year! Farm markets and other customers are calling and visiting us daily to get these gems about as fast as are crew can pick them. Mechanical harvest is also getting underway. If you go for a cruise down either of the Peninsulas, be patient and careful around all the machinery and trucks moving around!

This week is supposed to be hot, hot and hotter. So grab you swim suit, a good read, a quart of cherries and enjoy Traverse City's beaches in their prime! Here is some material to provide inspiration for using your snap peas. Also, the article (from Gourmet Live Blog) gives some ideas for using those spicy radish pods. Good luck and happy reading!


Ever since sugar snap peas hit the marketplace in the early 80s, they’ve become the favorite pea, more popular than English (shelling) peas or snow peas. Are we surprised? Sugar snaps are the essence of a no-waste, no-fuss vegetable that has everything going for it: A giant reward of flavor for minimal work.
English peas, in contrast, require time and patience for shelling—that is, if you are using fresh ones in the pod, and not already shelled and frozen—and the pile of pods you’re left with is substantial.
Snow peas are all about pod and no pea, so it’s easy to feel you’re missing something. According to Leslie Land, a cookbook and gardening author, if snow peas are allowed to grow and mature, the peas inside “taste dreadful.”
Will The Real Sugar Snap Pea Please Come Forward: The sweetest, best-tasting sugar snap is the original sugar snap pea, claims Land. It was developed by Dr. Carl Lamborn of the University of Idaho in a cross between an unusual English pea he found with an extra thick pod and the snow pea. “You won’t get it at the supermarket or the farmers market,” she explained, “because it’s not a commercially suitable variety. It’s a tall fussbudget you have to grow yourself.” Shorter varieties with names like Sugar Daddy and Super Sugar Snap are easier to grow, but don’t deliver quite the same knockout flavor.
There Are Always Strings Attached: OK, so sugar snaps are almost fuss-free. Before eating you do need to string them. The toughest string runs down the straight edge of the pod, so with a knife, begin to cut off the tip, starting on the edge opposite the straight edge, but stop before cutting all the way through, and pull the string off. There’s a thinner string on the opposite edge that you can attempt to snag, too, at either end, but it’s often barely there.
Don’t Blanch at Blanching: Sure, you can eat sugar snaps raw, and we do it all the time, but if you are putting together a crudité platter, the sugar snaps will be a brighter green and more alluring if you blanch them first in boiling water for about 5 to 10 seconds, then shock them in some ice water. This way, they’ll still retain their addictive crunch.
The Etiquette of Consumption: Contrary to how they’re most often served, a whole sugar snap pea is just too big a mouthful. If you are dunking it in a dip, it’s long enough to tempt you into double dipping, which you already know is a big no-no!
The photo above shows two different ways to cut your sugar snaps: Cut in thirds crosswise, or halve lengthwise on a long diagonal.  If you are steaming them, you can cut them before or after. But if you are boiling them, realize that the tumbling action in the water will free the peas from their pods, so keep them whole while boiling and cut them afterwards.
Snap, Crackle and Crunch: It’s right there in the name: Sugar snap peas are all about texture and sweetness. Thy don’t take long to cook, 1 to 2 minutes max. And remember, a limp sugar snap pea is a sad thing.
Like the sugar snap peas that we recently harvested, I prefer to eat radish seed pods raw as a refreshing snack. You can toss them in your salads, or use them whole as crudité to scoop up and spice up mellow dips like hummus. You can also stir-fry or sauté them with your preference of other ingredients.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

July 7th Newsletter

Dear CSA Crew,

We have officially begun cherry harvest 2013! Now the chaos really begins. . . The crop looks pretty good, the equipment is (almost!) put together and tuned up, the customers are calling and we are excited . We are lucky to have a fabulous crew and are looking forward to a safe and successful harvest. As a season kick-off, expect to taste your first Michigan dark sweet cherry of the year this week! Here is the full line-up:

Our friend, Stephanie, picking cherries!

  • Cherries
  • Strawberries
  • Garlic Scape
  • Radishes
  • Broccoli
  • White Turnip
  • Lettuce/Mixed Greens
  • Sugar Snap Peas
Not sure what to do with that funky looking garlic scape? Try baking it with olive oil and salt for a unique appetizer or side. Here is another simple recipe using broccoli:

Broccoli Italiano 

1 pound cauliflower or broccoli florets, cur into marble size pieces
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 tsp red wine vinegar
Pinch of salt
1 oz aged Provolone, thinly shaved
Red pepper flakes

Fill a skillet with ½ “ water.  Cover and set over high heat.  Bring to a boil.  Add the cauliflower or broccoli.  Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, for 4 minutes, or until
crisp tender.  Drain.
Meanwhile, in a bowl, combine the oil, vinegar and salt.  Add the drained vegetables.  Toss to combine.  Serve on appetizer plates topped with cheese and red pepper flakes to taste.

Makes 8 servings

We want to give you the opportunity to not only buy a quart or two of extra fruit, but buy fruit in bulk at lower prices. Company coming to town? You know they can make a bin of cherries disappear. . .

Beyond the Bin:

  • Strawberry Flat (8 quarts)  24.00
  • Strawberries (single quart)  3.50
  • Cherry bin (20 lbs) 35.00
  • Cherries (single quart)  5.00
  • Snow Peas  2.00
  • Rhubarb  2.00
Yes, we are pushing the strawberries right now. Our newest planting, rows so long that they have been nicknamed "strawberry fields forever" have been producing an extra sweet variety. We finally have a bit of rain in the forecast, something our cherry trees really need right now. While farmers may be elated with the wet weather, we know that your ruined beach plans may bring about some disapointment. Do not get too down, rainy days are perfect for staying in and cooking up some strawberry jam!